So I was looking for a shirt the other day and I came accross a T-shirt from my old vol firefighting days. Years ago I was a volunteer for a local FD when I scored a spot in an internship program run by the FD. It was a paid internship to staff a station on weekends. The crew was made up of experienced volunteers and fire science students from the community college and officered by a career firefighter/lieutenant to-be. Our officer was a very cool guy and very pro volunteer in an agency with mixed feeling about vols. Some saw them as a great help, others saw them as a bunch of wannabe losers (all were happy to have the vols roll hose and do salvage and overhaul for em by the way). Since it was a paid internship and we were paid members of the agency, the union saw fit to have us pay union dues for the duration of the detail (one summer). Our LT, recognizing our contribution, and being sentimental decided to get us all T-shirts so we would have a keepsake to remember the experience. The T-shirts, which the crew contributed $10 for (if i remember right), consisted of a cartoon fire engine on the back with a humorous tag line and (since we paid union dues) the IAFF union logo on the front of the shirt, at the right breast. So when our shirts came in, we all thought they were the greatest thing since sliced bread. But about two days after having them, we were ordered to give them back. Apparently, when word leaked out that the union logo was on the front of the shirt, enough people had a piss fit about it that they ordered our LT to collect the shirts back. Now our LT stood up for us and eventually we got them back, but under the union logo was the added phrase "Associate Member." The crew was upset and none of us ever wore our T-shirts as a result of that. It's like people in places of importance wanted us to know that we were not "real" firefighters, despite the fact that we were paid, paid union dues, and ran a first line firefighter/emt crew. I wondered what was so sacred about that logo to hurt a crew's morale and a departments reputation over. And by reputation, I mean the crew members from the college, who first real FFing experience was with an agency that pulled crap like that. When I look back on that experience, that's one of the things I remember most about it. I wonder why I still keep the shirt.